Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Southampton V Arsenal
Saturday 26th December. 7:45PM. BT Sports 1
The Boxing Day fixture list is always a landmark event in the Premier League campaign, and this season’s standout clash comes from St Mary’s as Ronald Koeman’s Saints take on Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.
Both teams will have high hope of starting the busy post-Christmas schedule with a win. That need for points, combined with their appealing styles of play should make for an explosive encounter. Prepare yourselves for a Boxing Day bonanza.
Can Saints Get Season Back On Track
After a pleasing start to the campaign, the Saints have tailed off in recent weeks and enter this difficult test having picked up just one point from a possible 18. Quite frankly, Koeman’s men will be desperate for an upturn in fortunes against the Gunners.
Despite the poor run of form, the Saints clearly have enough quality to give Arsenal a real run for their money. The possible return of Fraser Forster between the sticks will be a huge relief for the home fans. In the attacking third, Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane will be hoping for a big performance too.
The Saints have a good home record against the Gunners too. They’re unbeaten in three meetings since gaining promotion back to the Premiership while they also claimed a memorable 2-0 win In last season’s corresponding fixture.
Southampton’s run up to Christmas has been nothing short of disastrous, but this clash is the perfect chance to revive their hopes of Europa League qualification. Expect 110% effort from the hosts.
Gunners Aiming For Pole Position
With league leaders Leicester making the trip to Anfield, Arsenal could potentially go top with a win. But even if the Foxes do maintain their place at the top, Wenger’s men know that a win will put them in pole position for the title.
The Gunners were brilliant against Mancheter City on Monday, and adapted their tactics perfectly for the occasion. If Wenger has similar tricks up his sleeve here, the visitors should be set for another big performance.
That will be especially true it the likes of Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell continue to perform like they have in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Petr Cech will be hoping to become the Premier League’s record clean sheet holder by keeping a shutout here.
Arsenal have dropped points on the road in recent weeks but, if they play to their potential, they’re more than capable of sealing another crucial victory. Whatever happens, it should be an extremely intriguing battle.
We can hardly wait.
Southampton V Arsenal Betting
Despite conceding home advantage, it’s the in-form Gunner that enter this contest as the bookies’ favourites, and they are priced 21/20 with Bet365. Meanwhile, Southampton can be backed at 13/5 and the draw is available at 5/2.
Playmaker Ozil has undoubtedly been Arsenal’s main inspiration this season, and his two assists against Manchester City took his league tally to 15, which is more than double of anyone else in the division.
At St Mary’s, though, we’re backing the dazzling midfielder to be transformed from provider to scorer.[quote_center]Mesut Ozil to score anytime @ 39/10 with 888sport[/quote_center]
Even if Ozil doesn’t shine, the Gunners can expect to fire on all cylinders. It seems like they are finally starting to gain genuine belief about winning the title, and a big win here would fire yet another huge warning shot to their rivals.
They may need to be a little patient for their win, but we do think they will grind out the result.[quote_center]HT/FT: Draw/Arsenal @ 9/2 with Bet365[/quote_center]